Barbara Nice – Edinburgh Festival review

International fun smuggler Barbara Nice gets the whole room grinning from ear-to-ear, says Sarah Sharp


Hiya luvs! Resplendent in leopard print beneath her snazzy mac and wreathed in smiles, Barbara Nice totters to the stage with more than one stop off on the way to compliment her audience on their various wardrobe choices. She’s bubbling with energy and she cackles like a loon. She’s also piggin’ annoyed though, because she’s lost her brolly – and we all know what that feels like.

With this handle on the human condition, Mrs Nice (international fun smuggler) promises us an hour of good old-fashioned hearty humour that everyone can relate to. Musical statues, stage dives, sing-a-longs – this is a show with something for everyone. If at times it veers into cruise-ship entertainment territory, it’s hard not be won over by this cheeky chirpy Stockport housewife who wants everyone to have a good time. It might just be impossible to be at a Barbara Nice gig and not grin from ear to ear. No grumps allowed though – if you like sitting back in detached observation, this isn’t the show for you.

She’s got a knack for serving things up straight and she’s got no time for la-di-dah frippery. From the collapse of the housing market to the slate plates in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, there’s nothing that escapes her shrewd eye and can’t be reduced to a no-nonsense analogy. Admittedly, the mispronunciations of new-fangled technology like Wikipedia and Google grow a bit laboured after a while, but for the most part this is a flawless persona: sharp, down-to-earth, and not above the odd dirty joke or two.

It’s a riotous raucous hour of all-inclusive fun. If you like fun, and you like laughter, and your soul needs a bit of a boost, Mrs Barbara Nice will not disappoint.

4 stars

Barbara Nice: Mrs Nice is on at 2.30pm at the Assembly Rooms
Review written by Sarah Sharp

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